|2014 Champions Roll Call|
(76th Annual NCAA Tournament)
The University of Connecticut Huskies
(20th Annual HWCI NCAA Pool)
Karen F, aka, Badzy
(40-23, 121 points)
(4th Annual HWCI First Four for Charity)
Friends of Renee
Guilio B (4-0,
25 point diff)
Friends of Renee - To raise cash to help Renee and Ugo meet their financial burden &raise awareness of Lyme disease, which is the fastest growing infectious disease in the United States.
(22 participants x $2 = $44 + Add'l donations by Charles D, Bob S, and Jeff H)
CERRITOS, CA (smt)- So Karen F thought UConn sounded like a cool name and she rode that to winning the 20th HWCI NCAA pool among some crazy games in the tournament. IUPUI sounds cool to me but I don't think I could pick them to win if they ever get back in. But she did keep the streak alive of someone in our pool picking the correct champion, making it 16 years in a row. She was also one of a handful of players who skipped 2013 (2nd year, '11) and included Bing F (9th year, 1st since '09), Bar L (8th year, 1st since '09 and 1st not nicknamed Indy), Nikki N (10th year, 1st since '09 and 1st not including Bluestars in the nickname), Brian Z (9th year, 1st since '10 and still named Zippy), Ken G (7th year, first since '10), Don M (6th year, 1st since '11). In our 20 years, we have seen some crazy plays and games that have affected our pool.
'95 Mizzou vs UCLA. Probably the defining moment in our pool. If you remember, UCLA was heavily favored to win the title, and our HW-UCLA branch started the pool based on this. UCLA was about to bow out in the Round of 32 but Tyus Edney's 4.8 second coast-to-coast layup saved not only saved the Bruins but probably our pool as well because the depression may have killed any incentive to do the pool again. Also, the first buzzer beater I saw and calling the HW-UCLA guys after the game was like in Executive Decision when Kurt Russell's character calls after the bomb should've gone off only to hear laughter and screaming because they diffused it. Just yelling and screaming at the other end of my phone. Amazing they even heard my ring to pick up.
'96 Princeton vs UCLA. The bask of UCLA's championship has lasted 19 years and if we survived this debacle (back door layup! again!), the pool will survive anything.
Wildcats '97 & '98, Back-to-Back. The first two (Arizona and then Kentucky), and only times no one in our pool picked the correct champion which allowed hope if your team exits early. Also, an amazing run by Arizona as they remain the only team to beat three #1 seeds.
Valpo Buzzer Beater. The dearth of true buzzer beaters in the past several years (we had one in Texas's putback this year) makes some of these really special, especially when done by a huge underdog like #13 Valpo. The perfectly drawn up play (The Pacer) with just over 2 seconds left was amazing to watch.
Zags! Gonzaga was just an unknown school. They even made a appearance in our very first pool but of course lost in the 1st round. But their return in '99 prompted the first of three straight runs to the Sweet 16 as a double-digit seed (including the Elite 8 in '99) prompting majority of players picking them to win at least their first game. Of course, the first time they got a single-digit seed, they lost their first game (#6 in '02). They have been reliable in their first game lately, winning six straight from a #1 to a #11 seed (but just once getting to the Sweet 16).
Perfection. Bing F and Chris K were the first two go get all 4 Final Four teams correct in '01 (2 #1s, one #2, and one #3 seed) (19 others have done so since). Cliff T is the only person to ever get a perfect Last 7 (all 4 Final Four teams, both finalists, and the champion; all #1 seeds, the only time that has happened in our pool) in '08. A horrible 3-pt drought by Ohio St in the Final prevented Van P from becoming the first person to ever get a perfect Last 15 (all 8 Elite 8 teams (4 #1s, 3 #2s, 1 #3), all 4 Final Four teams (2 #1s, 2 #2s) etc.) in '07. Mike B also won the first 22 games in '09.
Replay Monitor, 1st Generation. This year, we suffered through countless replays, some that lasted for five minutes, disrupting the flow. But the first real memory for me of a prolonged delay was in '05 when Kentucky's Patrick Sparks double-pumped and line-drived a game-tying three-pointer vs Michigan St at the buzzer that miraculously bounced five times on the rim before falling. But was his foot on the line (white shoe on white line)? Well, it took over 5 minutes before they counted it and like I've been saying this year, if you can't determine it after a minute or so, let the call stand. (BTW, Kentucky lost in OT). This also capped a crazy Elite 8 where Louisville rallied from 20 down and Illinois rallied from 15 down with 4 minutes to go vs Arizona (4 years after Illinois nearly rallying from 11 down against Arizona with 2 minutes to go).
Power Play. We have had four #1 vs #1 battles in the Final. While the first one was still heavily Duke-favored (29 of 36 picked them) ('99 vs UConn) resulting in 3 of the 4 picking UConn to win money (no change in champ heading into final), the second one in '05 saw #1-Illinois (picked by 27) go against #1-UNC (picked by 19). While it took 10 years to finally have the pool champion decided after the final game (the champ was crowned after the Final Four from '95-'03), this was the 2nd straight year that happened and also the first that no one was guaranteed money (9 people vying for 4 money spots)- although Chuck H did have a chance either way (tie for 4th) but actually lost the 4-way tiebreaker for 4th and went home with nothing.
Baby! One of the biggest changes for me in the pool was the birth of Spencer (who this update is dedicated to, on his 7th birthday). Timely and a bunch of updates gave way to changing diapers to playtime to monitoring homework. Now times 2 with Ava in Jan 2012! I think I watched most games on my Moto X or iPad Air this year thanks to the monopoly of Dora the Explorer.
Game Over (Not). This the Final. For all the marbles. Teams have collapsed but rarely in the final. In '08, #1-Memphis had a 9-point lead with 2:12 left and was poised to become the first mid-major titlist since UNLV in '91. It also was going to give Robinson C a 3rd HWCI NCAA crown ('01 & '05). But before I could write "Robins..." on the check, #1-Kansas made an incredible comeback to tie it on Mario Chalmer's game-tying 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left (why Memphis didn't foul earlier, who knows) to send it to OT. The Jayhawks won the OT and sent Robinson C home with no money and giving Cliff T the title (and perfect Last 7). For a very brief time, Kansas removed their choker label (previously, 5 #1 seeds, just 1 Final Four; since then, 3 #1 seeds, 0 Final Fours).
First Four. It's still annoying they call the First Four the 1st Round (making the first real round the 2nd Round) but what could've been a disaster for pools everywhere turned out to be rather benign. While people could change their picks based on the First Four results, because the seedings the same (e.g., both #11s), rarely have people changed. The first year, in '11, VCU won their First Four game and proceeded to streak right into the Final Four. A First Four winner has won at least 2 games in each of the four years. Another result of the First Four was we started the First Four for Charity and $355 has been raised for four different organizations.
New TV Deal. This changed how I watched the games. Instead of being mad at CBS for not showing the ending of a really close game because a local team was playing (e.g., UCLA) and missing the magic live, you can now watch all the games (I mean ALL the games) live on TV (on four different channels) or on your phone beginning in '11. And the staggered times now meant you could see all games in their natural conclusion without really jumping around (though the few times CBS was good, it would show the end of one thriller and then switch to see the end of another nail-biter). Now the March Madness app was live before that but it didn't really get polished until after this TV deal and really shined this year (great interface). And now you see truTV in a lot of hotels now.
Tids & Bits - There have been 1,559 entries submitted by 1,302 people in 20 years... overall, there have been 369 different people in our pool... 163 have tried dual entries while 47 have tried triple entries... the triple entry craze didn't really start in until '11 when 5 tried (no more than 3 in one year before with Robinson C doing it 12 times starting in '01); we've had 8-9 triple entries for 3 straight years... While no #16 seed has ever won, four people (on 3 teams) have tried to pick one in 20 years (Holy Cross vs Kansas in '02, Albany vs UConn in '06, UNC Asheville (two) vs Syracuse (injury to star prior to tourney) in '12)... As the only 20 year participants, Scott T has the most wins (812), R64 wins (476), R32 wins (195), S16 wins (89), E8 wins (34), points (2261), power points (inverse of placement) (1131), and weighted average (14.64) and David F has the most F4 wins (14), and correct champions (6, tied with Andy F))... as averages (minimum 7 years), Don C has the best winning percentage (66.7%) and Bing F the best weighted average (out of 1.00, the true measure of greatness) (0.774); on the opposite end, Dan H has the worst winning percentage (55.1%) and Marty G the worst weighted average (0.256)... In 13 years, Darryn B has not picked the correct champion (also, of his 18 total entries: 0 correct champs; but he did when the pool in '03 with Syracuse's unlikely run for the title)... Chris B has not picked a finalist in 9 years (also, of his 22 total entries: 0 correct finalists (or 0 for 44))... Man V has the longest drought ($0 in 16 years)... Scott T at one time won 3rd, 2nd (2nd entry), 3rd, 1st, and Bonus in six years ('98-'00, '02-'03) and hasn't won anything since... Scott T's combined $630 total winnings is 3rd behind Robinson C's $680 and Roy W's $650... Robinson C is our only 2-time winner and that is his only two winning entries (record 39 entries over 14 years)... we've had 15 male champs and 5 female champs (Anna C (still the only person I don't have a last name for, how did David F ever write a check?) in '98, Lisa F in '99, Van P in '07, Kim B in '10, and now Karen F)... since our pool began (and not counting Opening Round or First Four wins), Kentucky has the most wins (50), Kansas has the most losses (19), both Kentucky (50-15) and UConn (40-12) have 0.769 winning pcts, and Penn is 0-8... four schools have been ranked #16 all 3 times they've been in the tourney (proper 64) (Mt St Mary (remember they lost the First Four game this year so it doesn't count), Jackson St, Texas-San Antonio, and UNC Asheville); Duke has been ranked the best (2.1 average seeding in 19 tourneys)... Kansas (20 tourneys), Duke, UNC (17), Syracuse (16), and Ohio St (12) have never been ranked higher than a #8 seed (minimum 10 of our pool years); Wash St is only multiple-bid team that hasn't been ranked higher than #4 (#3 & #4 in '07 & '08); in fact including even single-bid schools, only TCU ('98) and Drake (in '08) have been ranked in top 8 seeds (both #5 in only appearance)... in 20 years, there have been 261 teams in our pool (not including 3 who have lost Opening Round or First Four games (Alabama A&M in '05, Arkansas-Little Rock in '11, and Middle Tennessee in '13))... Loyalty: Ken B has picked Florida in 12 of 15 years (the last two because Florida didn't qualify; and can you believe he picked St. John's over Florida in his first year '00?), Fernando B has picked UCLA 10 of 18 years, and Wendy B (Buckeye23) has picked Ohio St 4 times in 9 years... Lisa F picked the correct champion in her first 3 years ('99-'01)... Kansas has been picked 180 times to win the tourney and 340 times to make the final (they've made 3 finals and won once) while BYU has been picked to lose the first game 658 times...
Where's the nickname issue? Maybe later along with the craziest stuff I've mentioned in an update...